“Wyrd biõ ful ãræd.”

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Severe weather

I don't know how they know a storm is coming, but they know.
It's a good thing Direct Tv and The Weather Channel finally arrived at a mutually satisfactory agreement. We got Weather Channel back about a week ago, and I certainly needed it last night.

Being here during a big electrical storm is like being on a submarine that's running silent. You have to shut everything completely down.  Before the storm got here, I'd already powered down the well pump, all but one of the satellite tv receivers, and then shut down the satellite radio.  I disconnected the television receivers from the antenna feeds, and disconnected the satellite radio receiver from both the antenna feed and the power cable.  If I hadn't done that before the storm got here, none of that equipment would have been functional today.

I was able to watch the storm coming on the weather channel until the lightning started, then had to shut down that last tv system.  I left the internet modem and the router up during the storm. Those are on a good surge suppressor, and they are both covered by insurance anyway.  That enabled me to use my Kindle and Intellicast to watch this weather come right on in.

The power failed intermittently throughout the night but I had LED lanterns going so it wasn't that big an inconvenience. I don't like using candles in a big storm because I'm always concerned that if a tree comes down on the house, fire of any kind could set the place blazing. . Everything is made of wood in my buildings, and old cedar burns like a torch.

I've been out around the house this morning, and it doesn't look like I have much more than the normal mess to clean up, tree limbs and pine boughs scattered around.  We are in for more bad weather today, but Georgia seems to have gotten off lightly compared to Arkansas, Kansas, Mississippi, and Alabama.

The ferrets did their normal bad weather routine. About 45 minutes before the storm got here, they started trooping down to the lowest level of the house and got under the cedar chest.  I have never been able to figure out how they know a storm is coming before you can hear it. Nor do I know why they go down into the basement, except that it's quieter down there. The only time they ever go get under my wife's cedar chest is when a storm is coming.  Ragnar, who had his stitches out yesterday afternoon, had some trouble with the stairs so I carried him down.  When all the ferrets were alive, it was something to see the seven of them solemnly going down the side of the stairs to their "storm shelter."

I am going out shortly to drive around some and see if there was any damage in my local area. I'll take my camera but I think we escaped any of the kind of trouble that hit the other states last night.

27 comments:

  1. Was concerned at your blogger silence - I thought maybe one of the tornado's had veered your way. Glad to hear you're OK.

    Yeah - weird how animals can sense things well ahead of us. Reckon you can use the ferrets instead of the weather channel in an emergency :) Too cute though - can just picture them heading down to the basement...

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    1. Dani, I have to shut down when the big storms come through, since even with good surge suppressors I've lost equipment to the big power surges that come over the grid when lightning jumps on the line. If the phone system goes out, I'm off the net until it's repaired because that's my only internet connection.

      The ferrets don't have bug out bags, but they are survivalists in their way, because they store food under the cedar chest, yet never go to the basement unless a storm is coming. For them to laboriously carry down bits of food shows good sense, because the stairs are hard for them to negotiate.

      By the way, if a tornado ever gets me, you'll know it because the news services will be carrying stories of a massive explosion on a mountain top in the middle of nowhere in the Blue Ridge. I figure if the lightning sets off my stores of ammo the ferrets and I are going to get a free trip to the moon. ;-)

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  2. Most times I think the animals are smarter than we are. They know enough to seek shelter, where we sometimes don't have sense enough to come in out of the rain. My little dogs are opposite in behavior of your ferrets. They pace and fuss and carry on until the storm hits - then they curl up and sleep. Glad you made it through the storm OK. We have been having nearly constant wind and rain the last few days, but thankfully, nothing serious.

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    1. I have given it a lot of thought, and I can't come up with a mechanism for them to know a storm is coming. The pressure changes but how would they know that? But you can almost set your watch by them, 45 minutes after they start going down the stairs, it's going to be blowing ,raining, and the thunder will be rolling. I've actually gotten to the point that I don't go through the drill of shutting everything down, despite what the weather channel says, until the ferrets confirm the storm for me.

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  3. finally Direct and Weather Channel worked it out? I could not stand that weather nation channel....

    The rain is suppose to move in here as well...I am hoping right at 5pm when I am scheduled to work concessions at the boys ball park tonight...yay! Just don't feel like being a short order cook this evening.... Stay safe harry!

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    1. The bad weather is supposed to be back tonight, and I think it extends down your way as well. You may get rained out. The lightning in your area is pretty terrible sometimes as I recall. Hope it all goes well and you don't have to be flipping hot dogs!

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    2. The Weather Channel is better when they are doing weather, but it seems like most of the time when I turn it on to check the weather they are showing one of their bizarre half hour programs. That other weather network doesn't do very well with the South, they mostly seem to talk about the North West. But they have good maps. I like having them both, but if I could only have one I'd want The Weather Channel. At least they go full time weather when these big storms come and their coverage is good.

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  4. No severe weather here, just rain, rain, and more rain. On the plus side no snow...yet. We have had close to 6" this month between the rain and snow. 35 this am. Still have the heat running. Our cats are calm so far will see later this year when the thunder rolls in. Happy to hear your safe. How about the rest of the family? Wife & Kids ??.

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    1. I'm running the air right now. This gulf air mass is very humid. Walked down the mountain throwing limbs and branches off the trail, and it was just like old times, I thought I was back in the Philippines with the humidity.

      Everybody is doing well. Glenn is enduring a long round of dental visits, but he just has to tough it out. Miriam is all tense about driving but that will wear off.

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  5. Elephants can communicate sub-sonically over distances through the ground. Many years ago, we caught one of the dogs staring off in the distance for a very long time in an intense sort of way. Many hours later that night, a severe storm came out of that same direction.

    I think the ferrets may be in tune with their environment in ways like that, in ways that people generally aren't.

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    1. I never knew that about elephants but I believe it. I still can't figure out how animals tell north. I know scientists say they do it by the magnetic lines of flux of the earth, but how? The ferrets have some kind of sense that tells them the bad weather is coming. They are also intelligent enough to put food in their hiding place under the cedar chest, somewhere they never go unless a storm is about on us. Maybe people could do all that in the neolithic age, and we've just bred those abilities out of ourselves because our technology means we don't use those senses. Anything that isn't used atrophies.

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  6. If I had to guess, Id say the ferrets are responding to an abrupt and seere change in atmospheric pressures...much akin to the guy with knee that tells him when bad weather is coming. The change in pressure probably triggers some sort of instinctual 'something bad is about to happen' response and they go to ground.

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    1. That makes the most sense. They can't be hearing the storm 45 minutes out. They can't smell the water vapor in the air I don't believe. Air pressure makes the most reasonable explanation. But they can do other things. If I've had a bad day, or I feel achy or sore from working outside, the old female ferret I had, Jasmine, would come sit on my neck when I sat down on the couch. She only did it when I felt down and didn't have a lot to do with me any other time.

      Who knows.

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  7. When I am out in the garden I have noticed the horses seem to know when the storm is really going to hit and when it is just gonna blow by close. They head for the loafing shed about 10 or 15 minutes before anything hits. Well except for the gelding he doesn't bother because those nasty bitch mares won't let him in out of the rain anyway. He usually heads for the trees in the back of the pasture all by himself.

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    1. I've heard of horses seeming to be aware of impending weather events. They may be sensing the pressure change, or they may have some sense that we never had, or we've lost. I wonder why the mares won't let him in? When we had horses up here both of ours were mares so I never had issues with that.

      I've heard it said that animals react to earthquakes before they happen as well. It's seems to be a documented fact, but the explanations are a bit lame, at least those I've heard.

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  8. I must be part animal or it is because I grew up by the sea. I am sure it is due to the change in pressure. I get a dull throb behind my eyes and then a really bad head ache, then it changes to a migraine.

    About 20 mins half an hour before the thunder and lightning there is a small patch on the back of my head where my hair feels like it is standing on end from the scalp. Then you feel the temperature drop the rain starts and I start to feel better...

    Weird but true. My sister is the same. As a teen it gave us nose bleeds.

    Harry, animals know when we are sad and hurt. Even cats will guard an owner if they are hurt. Cats pretty much like to do their own thing....

    Hows Ragnar in his self?

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    1. Well, his stitches are out. His biopsy showed the growth he had removed from his neck was not malignant. But he just doesn't have any energy. Seems like all he does is just sleep. I moved his box into the living room because he was coming in and trying to sleep on the rug, so I fixed his sleeping quarters up here temporarily. I hope he is just recovering from the operation. We don't know how old he is because he was dumped off in a garden in Florida and that's how my daughter got him, but I think he is older than we thought.

      My daughter gets terrible migraines when a storm is coming, and that is definitely pressure related. That's like an X files plot, about you and your sister! There is surely a scientific explanation for that , but I don't know what is might be. The nose bleeds could have been serious, I'm glad that stopped. Elizabeth used to get bad nose bleeds randomly and scared us to death.

      My ferrets are good companions, each in their own individual way. They are unique individuals and have their own personalities. That's one reason why it's so hard to lose one of them. Jasmine never had a much time for me unless she wanted to be combed, but she was always "sympathetic" if it had been a hard day. She was the apex ferret in the colony and when she died they were all very upset and their lives disrupted for some time.

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  9. We also got hit pretty hard with stormy rains :(

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    1. Hey, Lady Lilith.

      I don't know where you are (and of course, I won't ask) but I'm sorry the storms came your way. That's really worrisome because you just don't know when and where they will tear things up, and there's really so little you can do. I'm glad nothing bad happened to you and your family.

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  10. Glad you were ok in the storms. It is amazing how animals know- either pressure, sounds we can't hear or maybe they can even smell differences. At least your ferrets know to take cover and you don't have to worry too much.

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    1. I got off lightly. No real damage here and especially no wall of water coming down the side of the mountain and getting up against my building foundations.

      The ferrets are very smart animals. Jiggles is still dragging around, I hope he starts showing some higher energy levels soon or he is going to have to go back to the vet.

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  11. Animals are much more intuitive than us aren't they. Glad to hear you weathered the storm okay without too much damage, sounds like a lot of work to disconnect everything but I suppose it has to be done.
    Good to hear Ragnar has had his stitches out and is recovering albeit slowly :)

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    1. Dreamer, it was mostly Arkansas and Alabama where the storms were so bad and there were tornadoes. Not too bad here in North Georgia.

      I really think that primitive humans were probably much more in tune with their environment. Now we have used technology to insulate ourselves from nature for so long, and to such an extent, that we are really disconnected. The ferrets are still keyed to a natural world, although even they have been effected by being associated with humans. For instance, domestic ferrets can't eat meat, they have to have special ferret food.

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  12. Cheers to a recovering Ragnar!
    It's windy here today so Rock is hiding upstairs. Unless I go outside then it's fine for him. I feel like a security blanket.

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    1. With all the trouble the poor guy has had on your walks, I'm not surprised he's a bit dicey. He's young though, isn't he?

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  13. That's crazy how animals know when bad weather is coming. Dogs react to.

    My parents had 2 pit bulls when I was little. They were great to us, and I think would be a good breed if people didn't miss treat and train them wrong.

    They always knew when bad weather was about to strike to.

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  14. I like Pit "Boo's" There is a three legged Bull that lives with the old man at the foot of the mountain. She can run like a bullet, the missing let doesn't slow her down at all.

    Whatever the mechanism, animals do know. My ferrets are my weather warning system.

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